Sharing and Linking to Data or Resources

One of the most powerful features of the MHCLG Open Data site is the fact that everything has its own page on the world wide web - this makes every data point, area, and slice a part of the web.

This means that, in much the same way as you can link to a news article on the BBC News website, you can link to anything on MHCLG Open Data. You can also read a blog post which explores the applications of this in greater detail.

Of course, once you've downloaded some data, you can also send this to a colleague. The traditional way would be to download the data as CSV, and email it as an attachment, or save it into a shared folder (e.g. on Dropbox or Google Drive). And whilst this is likely to be suitable for certain purposes, there is an opportunity to share a much richer dataset with additional context provided.

To do this, simply copy the URL from the address bar on any page on MHCLG Open Data. This can then be pasted into an email, a text message, tweet, etc.

For example, the slice (or spreadsheet view) shown below:

has the URL:

http://opendatacommunities.org/slice?dataset=http%3A%2F%2Fopendatacommunities.org%2Fdata%2Fhomelessness%2Fhomelessness-acceptances%2Fethnicity&http%3A%2F%2Fopendatacommunities.org%2Fdef%2Fontology%2Ftime%2FrefPeriod=http%3A%2F%2Freference.data.gov.uk%2Fid%2Fquarter%2F2012-Q3

If you follow that URL, it will take you straight to the slice of data . From here, you (or anyone with whom you share the link) create a different slice of the dataset, view the metadata, or even get API details.

The power of being able to provide a URL to any thing on the site is not only seen in sharing via email or social media - it means that things can be referenced from within policy documents, news articles, or visualisations. This concept is explored in greater detail in this blog post, but here’s a very simple example using the homelessness dataset that we’ve been using throughout this article:

A Worked Example:

Suppose a researcher within MHCLG is writing a report about the number of homelessness acceptances, then it is likely that they will use MHCLG Open Data to get the data to be used in the report.

If they write a paragraph that says:

“In quarter 3 of 2012, there were a total of 14,010 homelessness acceptances in England. 7.6% of these acceptances were Asian or Asian British”

Then because that specific slice of the data has its own URL, the researcher can either reference that dataset as a footnote:

“In quarter 3 of 2012, there were a total of 14,010 homelessness acceptances in England. 7.6% of these acceptances were Asian or Asian British [1]"

  1. Source: MHCLG Open Data: http://opendatacommunities.org/slice?dataset=http%3A%2F%2Fopendatacommunities.org%2Fdata%2Fhomelessness%2Fhomelessness-acceptances%2Fethnicity&http%3A%2F%2Fopendatacommunities.org%2Fdef%2Fontology%2Ftime%2FrefPeriod=http%3A%2F%2Freference.data.gov.uk%2Fid%2Fquarter%2F2012-Q3

Or even hyperlink from the text itself:

“In quarter 3 of 2012, there were a total of 14,010 homelessness acceptances in England. 7.6% of these acceptances were Asian or Asian British

Either of these options enhance the document, by acting as a platform by which other people - researchers, service managers, policy leads - can verify the source of the data, or even conduct their own analyses.

To continue exploring our datasets, return to opendatacommunities.org

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